CENTRAL ASIA STRENGHTENS COOPERATION WITH CHINA ON BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE
The Belt and Road initiative is set to contribute to Central Asia’s development. Experts believe that cooperation on the project will boost the region’s economic development. The initiative will connect Central Asian countries with Europe. The commodity producers in the region will have access to the wider global market. The Belt and Road initiative will cover approximately 60 percent of the world's population market. The project will help improve trade and relations between the countries in various sectors.
SERGEI IVANOV, HEAD, DEPARTMENT OF CHINESE STUDIES, INSTITUTE OF FAR EAST HISTORY, ARCHEOLOGY AND ETHNOGRAPHY
- The project will allow the Central Asian countries to access the global market. Currently due to limitations on logistics, the regional countries are not widely represented in the world market. Therefore, this initiative is beneficial.
TIMUR SHAIMERGENOV, DEPUTY MINISTER OF KAZAKH DEFENSE AND AEROSPACE INDUSTRY
-In the first five years, the countries had relations at the Government level, and, in the next five years, after strengthening the cultural and humanitarian cooperation, the countries improved communications and people started understanding each other better. The next stage is the small and medium-sized businesses, when people trade independently, establish production facilities and joint projects. It is very important to shift from the centralized top level cooperation to medium and low levels, when the people develop their projects along the Silk Road.
Experts believe that the Central Asian countries should enhance coordination of their actions within the project to attract more Chinese investment in Central Asia. The countries in the region hold regular meetings to discuss the ways of strengthening cooperation.
YEVGENIYA BUKHAROVA, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE OF ECONOMY, ADMINISTRATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT, SIBERIAN FEDERAL UNIVERSITY
-The Belt and Road initiative provides an additional opportunity for the economic development of the Central Asian countries. (I believe that various public and political organizations in the regional countries support this initiative because of the benefit that this project brings to them). Another important argument is that this project brings together the land routes and the sea routes of the Silk Road, which provides access to a wide range of trading markets. The initiative provides a comprehensive structure covering the logistics and movement of goods in China, Central Asia and Europe.
China is one of the leading trading partners for Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The countries in the region are interested in strengthening cooperation with China.